Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Review - PodcastvsPlayer.com

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Friday, 16 October 2009

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Review

Uncharted: Drake's Fortune was a game that set a new benchmark for cinematic console adventures, and this breathtaking sequel has taken that benchmark and raised the bar. Bettering the first Uncharted in nearly every sense and gives Nathan Drake the title he fully deserves; PlayStation 3's most enthralling mascot.

Published By: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developed By: Naughty Dog Software
Genre: Third-Person Action Adventure
Number of Players: 1 -1 0
Release Date: Europe: October 16, 2009 
PEGI: 16+

Among Thieves starts your journey with a sense of ridiculous wonder, and sets up a pace that never stops thorough out, as Drake wakes semi-comatose in a train that dangles insecurely off a snow-covered cliff-top.
What follows is simply the most spectacular and exhilarating tutorial I’ve ever played.
Controlling Drake as he clambers up the side of a carriage that buckles and sharply moves under the player's movements, is the finest introduction to Among Thieves' gentle platforming mechanics in the most amazing way possible. Even my fiancée actually sat up and took notice as our HD TV lit up with such beautiful, crisp graphics.
Nathan Learned Never To Give Up His Seat Again

But this is just a prime example of the balance between cinematic and gameplay elements that developer Naughty Dog are capable of, bringing a rich and engaging story to life.

In Among Thieves, Drake is in search of the mythical kingdom of Shambhala and the mysterious Cintimani Stone, following in the footsteps of Marco Polo as he once followed the trail of Francis Drake.

And, with every story, there’s a villain. This time in the form of a savage, almost pantomime villain, Zoran Lazarevic, brilliantly voiced by Graham McTavish, who does an amazing job of voicing the war-mongering villain, along with the rest of the team; Nolan North (Nathan Drake), Steve Valentine (Harry Flynn) and Stargate SG-1's Claudia Black (Chloe Frazer) who are just some of the impressive cast bringing the characters to life.
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Aiding the tremendous voice cast, is some of the best CGI acting, that comes pretty close to trumping the likes of Pixar. The character movement is conveyed with such fluidity, that it’s almost like watching a massive budget CGI movie. Added to the fantastic writing, that is brilliantly witty, and combines betryal, double-crossing and major pitfalls, that’s perfectly timed and paced to keep your attention through out the game.

As stated before, the game is simply gorgeous, and as good as the fine voice cast is, it’s the games locations that steal the limelight.
Leaving the one location trick of Drakes Fortune, Among Thieves is a globe trotting adventure, that brings with it breathtaking backdrops, that go from deep jungles of South America to Eastern European streets, that all look and sound brilliant.
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The games twelve hour running time offers more than just good looks, though. With a helicopter chase that knocks buildings down (with Drake fighting guards inside it as it falls), a train-top fight that violently finds its way to the snow-capped peak and a frantic alleyway escape from a raging jeep, are just some of the action you’ll find in Among Thieves, and it’s simply unmatched.
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Nathans ability to acrobatically climb walls, and dodge enemies is smarted only by his shooting abilities, which have luckily been marginally fixed since Drakes Fortune, although still prove tedious at some points. Being able to shoot with his free hand while hanging from a ledge is just one of Drakes new tricks, but one of the more refreshing additions to Drakes arsenal, is the inclusion of stealth elements. While they seem relatively shallow compared to more dedicated sneak 'em-ups they still provide a much appreciated alternative when taking on the masses of enemies that Among Thieves throws at the player.
Where Among Thieves falters however, is the evolution of gameplay, that falls into the same problem many games face.
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The only change is that enemies seem to take more punishment as you progress, with the games climax changing your opinion of awe-inspired impressions, with many, many swear words, as the game decides to flip it’s ongoing gameplay, with a dirty mix of collapsing buildings and bridges that Drake must get by, whilst he also has to battle rocket launching soldiers and unseen snipers, followed with a ridiculous final boss.

The multiplayer is your typical online fare, offering the likes of death match and capture-the-flag, along with a few others, such as the online co-op levels, but all in all it’s a strong contender for one of the best Playstation Network titles.

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves has it’s flaws, but they are easily forgiven when it comes to just how enjoyable the game is.
There’s a vast amount of production value, and it shows in leaps and bounds, with just the relentless annoyance of the final boss proving to cripple what could otherwise be one the finest games made.

Which is a shame, as Uncharted 2 is otherwise a fantastic and thoroughly engaging title, with a wealth of great characters, glorious spectacles, along with a wondrous and brilliantly witty and climactic script, that makes Uncharted 2: Among Thieves a must have title.

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